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Osteographia, Or The Anatomy Of The Bones. In Fifty-Six Plates. By William Cheselden. Every Bone in the Human Body is here delineated as large as the Life, and again reduced to lesser Scales, in order to shew them united to one another. Likewise the gradual Increase of the Bones, from the first Appearance of Ossification in the Fœtus to that of an Adult, their internal Texture, as also the Ligaments of the Joints, and a great Variety of Diseased Bones are here exhibited. This work was executed in a Camera Obscura contrived on Purpose by the Author, which renders it more exact and complete than anything of the kind whatever; one View of such Prints shewing more than the fullest and best Description can possibly do.

William Cheselden

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Anatomy of the bones


London.: , [ca. 1753?]

Physical Description

[2] f., frontis. (port.), 56, [1] pl.; 463 mm.

General Note

On the second leaf the 'Explanation of the Tables' and the printed note are pasted in. The last, unnumbered plate is printed on the verso of plate LVI.


[Frontis., t.p.] - Explanation of the Tables. 1(-56); [printed note] - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as painted by I. Richardson and made by I. Faber. It also carries the seller's advertisement, 'Price 2s. 6d. Sold at the Golden Head near the Church Bloomsbury Square.' The other plates are unsigned; but according to Cheselden's address 'To The Reader' in the 1733 edition most were 'done by Mr. Gerard Vandergucht ... The rest were performed by Mr. Shinevoet'; and 'where particular parts needed to be more distinctly expressed on account of the anatomy, there I always directed'.


ESTC, N55712
K. F. Russell, 'Osteographia of W. Cheselden' in Bull. Hist. Med. 1954 vol. 28, pp.32-49
K.F. Russell, British anatomy 1525-1800 (2/ 1987), nos. 171-8
Z. Cope, William Cheselden, 1688-1752 (1953).
On the Vanderguchts see H. A. Hammelmann and T.S. R. Boase, Book illustrators in eighteenth-century England (1975), p. 86-96
H. A. Hammelmann, 'A family of book illustrators', in Times Literary Supplement (26 July 1957).
On Schijnvoet see W. R. Lefanu, 'The anatomical drawings by Jacobus Schijnvoet', in Oud Holland, 1960, p. 54-8.

Summary Note

There is no publication-date. Russell suggests a date after 1741. The frontispiece carries the date of 1753.

From 1711 to his retirement in 1737 or 1738 the surgeon Cheselden had been the leading teacher of anatomy in London. In 1713 he had published The anatomy of the humane body, and in 1733, the Osteographia.

The frontispiece shows a portrait of Cheselden by Richardson. The numbered plates show human bones. The unnumbered plate shows the skeleton of a stag.

The preparatory drawings for the plates may be seen at the Royal Academy, London.

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, brown cloth-covered boards; rebacked and recornered in 1988, retaining earlier spine-piece lettered 'R.A. 1733' and red morocco spine-label lettered 'Cheselden's Anatomy Of The Bones'.


Bones - Bone diseases - Anatomy - Skeleton - People
Manuals - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century